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Water Damage And Mold Cleaning Tips
Water damage from a flooded basement usually results in mold if not cleaned and dried promptly and correctly. Water damage and mold are two very common issues that most homeowners will face in their lifetime. Although neither can be prevented 100 percent of the time, there are some helpful tips that can minimize the risk. Why can’t water damage or mold be completely prevented? Simple. You can’t control Mother Nature.
We all know that everything around us ages and begins to decay. This is the process of life that everything must go through. Trees grow, eventually fall and begin to rot. Streams are cut into the ground and eventually a Grand Canyon is formed. Temperature changes cause the soil to expand and contract, and rain causes the soil to swell.
With all these things happening around us, you need to be aware of the changes happening and take appropriate action. First, let’s focus on basement flooding and water damage. We know that when water enters your home, it must be cleaned up immediately or damage can occur. The finished walls of your basement will absorb water like a sponge and cause the drywall to deteriorate, eventually crumbling right before your eyes. Wood floors can also absorb this water and swell, warp and warp. The trick is to never allow water to enter your home, except in controlled situations like mopping the floor or cleaning. Check these things around the house to prevent water ingress.
- Check your gutters and clean them after the leaves have stopped falling. This will ensure that the winter snow melts and drains correctly without obstruction. Also, check your gutters in the spring so you’re ready for summer storms.
- External drains. Places like your yard may have storm drains that need to be unobstructed.
- Check window seals inside and out. Older homes usually have siding that may have dried out and deteriorated. Water can seep in and cause invisible damage between your interior wall and exterior wall.
- Check your faucets for leaks. Water damage starts with a single drop of water that can grow into a flood. Additionally, if your outdoor faucet drips until winter freezes, the wet soil can expand and put enough pressure on your home’s foundation to cause a crack. Then, when the spring thaw comes, all that frozen soil can flow into your basement in the crack that forms.
- Check all faucets and internal hoses. Make sure the faucets don’t leak or have rust on them and the hoses aren’t cracked or leaking.
- Control the humidity in your home during the winter. Your windows and exterior walls can sweat if it’s too humid. Most windows can handle this condensation, but if it is excessive it can cause problems. Maintain constant humidity throughout the year. It’s best to keep it around 30-35 percent.
Now let’s talk about mold. This is something that every city, state and country has. You can’t get rid of it, but you can learn to control it. Mold needs a cool, dark, moist environment to thrive. As mentioned above, keeping your home’s humidity between 30-35 percent is the first step to limiting the humidity level in your home. Second, is ventilation. If your house is airy and you have no air circulation, you have a perfect home for mold. Ceiling fans, box fans and even opening your windows allows air to circulate which helps prevent mold growth. It sounds counterintuitive since opening windows would allow mold spores to enter your home. True, but spores are not a problem as long as you don’t give them an environment to grow.
Cleaning your home to prevent mold growth is somewhat of a science, but so is some good old-fashioned medicine. The first thing to remember when cleaning is to never leave more water on the surface than necessary. What that means is washing and drying completely. For example, if you have a wood floor and use a mop, you expose the wood to moisture that causes it to absorb and sometimes collect under the wood. Always use recommended wood cleaning products. The following tips are to help prevent mold growth and clean up existing mold before it gets out of control. If it gets out of control, you will need professional help to remove it.
- Always use wood cleaning products on your hardwood floors. Never clean with a damp cloth.
- If you spill water on your carpet or hardwood floor, wipe it up and dry it as soon as possible. Blot wet carpets with paper towels until no more water is absorbed after standing on the paper towel with the heel of your foot.
- Kitchen and bathroom sinks should be wiped dry after use. Water that collects in the wall layers or backsplash are grounds for mold growth.
- Keep your refrigerator dry. Never put hot items in the fridge because they cause steam.
- Inspect your shower and tubs to make sure grout and tile seals are in good condition. Vinyl tub surrounds must be sealed.
- If mold is found on a non-porous surface, bleach or ammonia can be used.
- If the mold is on a porous surface, 35% hydrogen peroxide can be used on the mold. Let it soak into the surface for a few minutes and then scrub to remove the mold. Wipe the surface dry. The exact amounts to mix depend on the amount and type of mold you are cleaning. Note: 35% hydrogen peroxide may cause discoloration and may cause burns. Read the warning labels and directions that come with food grade 35% hydrogen peroxide.
There are companies that specialize in water damage restoration and mold removal that have some high-tech tools and chemicals to combat mold. Typically, these companies are called when it is too late to handle the problem yourself or you are unable to do it yourself. Their task is to clean the affected area so that the mold spores do not spread to other areas.
Unfortunately, most people are not aware that they have a problem until it becomes serious. If you have a situation where it is beyond your ability to repair or clean up, it is best to contact a professional water damage restoration or mold remediation company. They usually work with your insurance company to make sure they pay for repairs and cleanup.
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